Less than a minute into the start of the first period, the Capitals would take a careless penalty for high sticking at 19:12, with Mike Cazzola heading to the box. They were able to effectively counter Fife’s overload style powerplay, and kill off the penalty. Mike Cazzola would even get a chance to score, as he was sprung on a breakaway after leaving the box. Unfortunately, Andy Iles made the save to keep the score tied at 0. The period would feature an abnormal amount of penalties, 6 total. The most notable of these penalties was a 5 minute major and misconduct given to Fife’s Danick Gauthier for an illegal check to the head on Dillon Lawrence. Unfortunately, the Capitals were unable to convert on their long powerplay, as it was cut short by another penalty! Throughout their powerplays, the Capitals would often be very slow starting out and find themselves unable to establish control. However, they got better at this as the game progressed. The Capitals were definitely the better team this period despite no goals being scored at either end. They have done a good job of keeping control in the offensive zone, especially with a makeshift first line of Ferguson-Cazzola-Podzins. Tyler Beskorowany has also been very good in net, making saves look easy. The Capitals would head into the second period, however, on the penalty kill.
Score after one – Capitals 0 Flyers 0
Starting off on a 5 on 3 powerplay, Fife managed to hit the underside of the crossbar, but the puck somehow stayed out, and was confirmed as no goal after a review. Shortly after, the Capitals thought they had a goal, when Mike D’Orazio scored on a point shot on the powerplay while Andy Iles was screened, however, the goal was called off after the referee spotted interference. This galvanized the crowd and put energy into the Capitals players. Unfortunately, they couldn’t make the most of this. The period would continue with a string of good chances for either side, but no goals, and especially good play from Denis Trakhanov, who had been the Capitals best defenseman on the night. Fife would break the deadlock eventually, scoring on a broken play, where the puck was swept with the stick over Beskorowany. Fife would add a second with less than five minutes left in the period, as Shayne Stockton pounced on a loose rebound that the Capitals could not find. The Capitals would enter the third period on the penalty kill, after taking a slashing penalty.
Score after two: Capitals 0 Flyers 2
Either side had good chances to score early in the third period, though the Capitals perhaps had the better opportunities. The period opened with very physical play as the Capitals took up position in Fife’s zone. Midway through the period, Fife would score their third goal on a breakaway gifted to them off a turnover. In honesty, this was the only goal the Capitals deservedly conceded, as the turnover was right in their defensive zone. The rest of the period would continue with little scoring opportunities for the Capitals, and Fife was able to sit in the Capitals’ zone and wind the clock down to end the game.
Final Score: Capitals 0 Flyers 3
Drew’s Notes –
- Trakhanov was all over the place tonight
The Russian blueliner was the Capitals’ best offensive and defensive defenseman tonight, and I would bet that if Corsi statistics were available for the EIHL, Trakhanov would be dragging his pairing through.
2. Capitals able to roll more lines more effectively with changes in combinations
Due to injuries/sickness, key players for the Capitals such as Sergei Banashkov were unavailable, meaning that the team played with new line combinations. Podzins-Cazzola-Ferguson and Valeyev-Lawrence-Moisio played alright together, and I’ve been convinced that playing Cazzola and Podzins together is a very good idea and that they were driving the line. I would love to see Podzins and Cazzola together with Banashkov when he is back.
3. Unlucky tonight
The Capitals had some unlucky bounces go against them, especially leading up to the second goal. The game was definitely more evenly matched than the scoreline would have you believe. They were very strong defensively and generally held good positioning, especially on the penalty kill.
Image Courtesy of Edinburgh Capitals